Spring Training – Day 1

The purpose of this blog is not to provide the latest breaking Dodger news – lots of other blogs do a great job of this.  This is just a safe place to talk about it.

Here are today’s best Spring Training New Links:

Dodgers.com

ESPN.com

TrueBlueLA.com  – lots of Dodger news here.

For those who don’t like the fact that the Dodgers signed Chase Utley, there is this:

The Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw, on the return of Chase Utley: “Everybody talks about the intangibles, but I really mean it, regardless of how he plays, just what he does here in the clubhouse is the best I have ever been around.”

Now, what do you haters have to say?

Andy McCullough of THE LA TIMES says this about the rotation:

The first three members of the rotation are Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill and Kenta Maeda. The last two spots will be decided between Julio Urias, Scott Kazmir, Brandon McCarthy, Alex Wood, Ross Stripling, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Brock Stewart.

We will handle Urias with a little more depth in the next question, but I suspect he will start the year in extended spring training. Ryu is a health risk, and it is unclear if he’ll even be ready at the start of the spring. Wood has utility out of the bullpen. Both Stripling and Stewart have minor-league options, which means they can be stashed in the triple-A Oklahoma City rotation until needed.

Which clears the floor for Kazmir and McCarthy. Each man has hurdles to clear. Kazmir needs to show his back and neck issues from 2016 have passed. McCarthy has to prove he can still throw strikes, a skill that eluded him after he returned from Tommy John surgery in the summer. If both can accomplish their goals, they’re likely to start the year in the rotation. That keeps the team’s depth intact, avoids expending Urias’ innings early in the season and keeps options open for later in the season.

Things are getting underway today, so have at it – you have the floor… and by the way, if you have any suggestions on other links, please share them with us.

Posted by Mark Timmons

We started LA Dodger Talk in 2001. This site is about giving another perspective outside of the average day-to-day reporting. We don’t do game recaps or such things — lots of sites do that well. I value sabermetrics, but don’t think they are the “end-all-be-all.”. This is where you should start your day as a Dodger Fan. Welcome! We’d like to hear your voice.

This article has 33 Comments

  1. Mark: I have an “out of the box question” if you don’t mind.
    How many ML players do NOT have an agent handling their affairs? Any?

    1. Richie, I know that a few years ago Zack Greinke was without an agent, but he has one now, I believe. I can’t think of anyone else, but I’ll check.

  2. I like the possibility of Kazmir and McCarthy starting the season in the rotation. Allows them to be showcased for a trade. If the others look good and allow FAZ to trade these two, it helps the 40 man roster logjam and solves the luxury tax worries in 2018.

    1. Thought I would have been torched by now. Who would want Kazmir or McCarthy? How about the Cards? I know, they say they can handle losing Reyes, I say B.S.

      How about Kazmir, Taylor or Culberson and Nuno (maybe instead of Nuno an Oaks or DeJong type) for 26 yr old Wong? It’s possible Wong has options, not sure, but he would be nice depth if Utley is finished.

      1. Box,

        You won’t be torched here. You might get disagreed with, but that’s all part of it. This is a No Torching Zone

        If Kaz and Mac are in the rotation, that means they are healthy. That also means that Julio will stay in Arizona for a month or so. If he’s not on the 25-man, there is no need for him to pitch at AAA. If they are healthy and pitching well in the Spring, there are several team who will need them. That goes for Ryu too.

        Look, no matter what the haters think, all three pitchers who were injured can be successful this year. I am not counting on it. Neither are the Dodgers, but if they get healthy, it is great news all around. The Cards, Cubs, Red Sox, Yankees and Orioles all need starters.

        The Dodgers are in a very enviable position. There could be several trades and remember this: The Team we have now, will not be the team we end the season with.

        I am not sure what the best way is to preserve Urias – let him start late of DL him a few times during the season for 2 or 3 weeks?

        1. I totally agree with your statement that the team we have won’t be the team that is there at season’s end, but the current concern is what team leaves Glendale for Los Angeles in April. The current roster logjam is a problem because there simply isn’t room for everyone and the way the bench is constructed is a particular problem.

          Let’s look at the rotation. Assume you’re right and the starting 5 in April are Kershaw, Hill, Maeda, Kazmir and McCarthy. So Urias, Stripling and Stewart get sent to AAA (or alternatively Urias does extended spring training). That leaves Ryu and Wood without rotation spots. So Ryu goes on the 15 day (or maybe 60 day DL) and Wood goes to the ‘pen.

          So – the 8 man bullpen – Jansen, Romo, Baez, Dayton, Wood, Avilan, and 2 more from among Hatcher (no options), Fields, Liberatore, and Ravin. It also assumes that NRI’s like Morrow are cut. Since Hatcher has no options (and either does Avilan) Dodger fans will be stuck with watching him walk people at inopportune times and generally screw up next year.

          Same issue with the bench. An 8 man ‘pen means a 4 man bench. Assuming that the starting OF is Ethier, Pederson and Puig, a 4 man bench will have to include a backup C (Barnes), Utley (because they just had to have a 38 year old 2B who can’t play SS and hits lefty), a guy who can backup Seager at SS (probably Hernandez because he plays the most positions and has the most pop, even though he is a bad SS) leaving room for one more OF/1B type, probably a righty. Since they just signed Gutierrez, this means no righty 1B to backup Gonzalez (Van Slyke has one option left). Thompson goes to the 15 day or 60 day DL and Toles gets optioned.

          The beef is that the 25 man roster would be better constructed without the clutter (the Braintrust calls it “depth”). You have the guys you need on the roster and not the guys you like (like Utley).

          1. I’ll bet every GM in the game would love to have those problems.

            What Clayton said about Utley speaks volumes:

            “Everybody talks about the intangibles, but I really mean it, regardless of how he plays, just what he does here in the clubhouse is the best I have ever been around.”

            Most teams don’t have the luxury of carrying an Utley and the fact of the matter is that Utley would not play for just $2 Million for most other teams.

            The way this team is built, we do have a backup for Seager – Logan Forsythe can play SS with Utley going to 2B or 3B and Turner can play 1B as well. Forsythe is our backup SS and if Corey is injured the new 10 day DL changes the way you build a team. There is a lot to be decided. If healthy Gutierrez will be our lefty killer and Ruf could surprise you. Thompson will certainly start at AAA, as will Stewart and probably Stripling.

            My own personal opinion is that Chase Utley will get 200 to 250 AB’s this year and be highly productive. He wore down last year – that won’t be the case this year. Plus he is invaluable in the clubhouse. There is a lot we don’t know.

          2. Don’t think that’s right, Rick.

            I think Gutierrez goes on the IR until needed, he has a chronic condition that should facilitate that. I don’t think Hatcher has to be on the roster if he’s out of options. That line of thinking didn’t save Crawford, and he made a lot more money than Hatcher.

            The 4 man bench can be:
            Utley, Barnes, and SVS and Toles.

            With Kike starting down and coming up when needed. Let’s not under-estimate how often and frequently players will shuttle back and forth while on the 40.

            I think there’s a fine line between clutter and depth, you are looking at as the former. Hopefully it’s the latter.

        2. It’s all good Mark! I view a “torching” as nothing more than a spirited debate.

          It will be interesting to see how FAZ handles Urias. I think a lot depends on the health/effectiveness of Kazmir, McCarthy and Ryu. If they are looking good, makes sense to me that they start the season in the rotation and Urias at Glendale. Exciting times, we should start seeing how it all fits together soon.

        3. Hey Mark, going to kind of run with this one here, but do you think FAZ is waiting to see how the rotation pans out by the end of spring training, then pull the trigger and get a bona fide #2 or strong 3 starter by trade? You guys have been talking so much about how many players we have and how tough it will be to make a 40 man roster, it would seem like that would be our biggest hole to fill outside of a true 8th inning set up man. As we all know, our bullpen was gassed by the time the NLCS came around, and the Cubs threw 4 legit starters at us, which seemed to be the difference, I sure would sleep better this season knowing that we had at least 3 shutdown starters in the rotation.

          1. So, who do you suggest they get and what is the price. Chris Sale would have been nice, but to get him it would have taken Buehler, Alvarez, Calhoun, Verdugo and maybe Bellinger.

  3. Freudy strikes again!

    “Friedman inherited a windfall. He got a playoff team with a new rich ownership group and ripe farm system. A smarter man would have added the missing parts – perhaps a 3rd starter better than Brett Anderson – in order to go deeper into Oct. Instead, much like Paul DePodesta before them, a lot of tinkering, convoluted, needlessly complicated trades, signings of Cubans, reliance on unimpressive and often injured pitchers (overpaid), and other factors have led the team to no more Oct ready than before. I’d add, taking the long way around the mountain, creating needless busywork to get there.”

    https://dodgertherapy.wordpress.com/

    1. circulus in probando

      When someone is as adept at circular reasoning as Dodger Therapy one cannot waste time debunking that in which the reasoner begins with what they are trying to end with.

  4. Ryu throwing his fastball 84 – 86 MPH according to team sources – he’s not ready yet. By the end of the Spring? Seems unlikely.

  5. Forsyth hasn’t played SS in the majors since 2014. He played only a few games then. If he is the backup SS then they have a problem.

    1. You only need a backup SS for half a game or one game. With the 10 day DL, Corey goes on it for a few days and you call the backup from AAA. This new 10 day DL changes everything. That’s why FAZ is making these moves. Other teams do not have it figured out as yet!

    2. Roberts has already said, that he will be taking a look at Forsyth in spring training, to see if he can fill in, and be, the back up shortstop.

      So both Mark, and Bluto are right, we don’t necessarily need a back up shortstop, on the major league team.

      And that means we have a little more room, on the major league roster.

      1. Corey is an ironman. He played 157 games last year. I would expect much of the same this year. Why keep a guy for an emergency? Shoot, Justin Turner could play SS for a couple of innings. Maybe Kike will have a stellar Spring… who knows?

      2. I’ve been saying the same thing for some time now. No need to carry AAAA guys on the roster until there is an actual injury.

  6. I had a blood draw today for life insurance and the nurse confirmed I do in fact bleed Dodger Blue.

    This depth will be needed because injuries will occur. What seems like 10 starting pitchers can go down to 4 very quickly. Consider: Kershaw’s back, Hill’s blister, Maeda’s elbow, Kazmir’s back, McCarthy’s yips, Ryu’s done, Urias and Stripling’s innings limits.

  7. There are going to be more scouts watching the Dodgers abundance of pitchers and outfielders this spring than any other team. Someone always goes down with an injury and the Dodgers are set to handle it. Even so, they have more starters than they need. Baltimore would be a great trade partner. Honestly, I feel good about every position on the team this year (In Puig I trust!). However, to be World Champions I would fee better if they could move a healthy Kazmir or McCarthy or Wood to Baltimore for Brach or O’Day. The O’s have SP woes, Tillman won’t be ready opening day and the Dodgers have beyond excess.

    1. I would be good with just prospects. We have plenty of arms. However, Baltimore doesn’t have many great prospects.
      .
      I’d trade McCarthy for Ryan Mountcastle.
      .
      Then I’d trade Kaz to the Cardinals for Harrison Bader.

  8. I like Culberson & thought he did a good job when called upon last year.
    However, I do understand that there probably will not be a space for him on the bench.

    Good problems to have.

  9. If in fact our starting rotation Is CK, Hill, Maeda, Kazmir and McCarthy AND they ALL stay healthy FOR THE YEAR, I would rather see Maeda and McCarthy trade places
    My reasoning is Maeda was used to pitching every 6th day in Japan or am I wrong?

  10. Flash: This just in. Clayton Kershaw’s fastball sat at 87 to 88 yesterday!

    That’s not gonna’ cut it.

    Send him to AAA.

Comments are closed.